Cloister of St. Jerome

Cloister of St. Jerome

The Cloister of St. Jerome, so-named because it allows direct access to the cave dedicated to that Saint, was restored by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi in 1947. During this work, Father Bagatti provided assistance to the archaeological surveys of the caves lying below.

For the restoration of the cloister it was necessary to insert new columns where the original ones were missing in order to provide additional support to the structure. This was done in a manner to preserve the original structure, a clear example being the simple and linear modern capitals which alternate with the more richly decorated Crusader ones.

From the Cloister one can enter the Chapel of St. Helena, which is in fact what remains from the base of the Crusader bell tower. The chapel contains 12th century frescoes in a poor state of preservation but very interesting stylistically. From the entrance, to the right of the cloister, can be seen an entry door to the church used by the Latins for the official entries of the Pope, since the right to enter through the principal door is accorded solely to the Custos of the Holy Land and the Patriarchs.

On the opposite side is the entry to the Franciscan Convent, which represents an enlargement of the Crusader monastery. Remaining elements from the Crusader monastery include the entrance hall with pointed arches, the perimeter walls giving access to the north side of the convent, the storeroom and cisterns, some of them dating from even earlier periods.

By passing through the basement of the convent one can enter the place that by tradition is known as the Washing of Jesus.

Cloister of St. Jerome

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